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English Paper Piecing – A few tips

 

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Most nights I enjoy relaxing with some simple hand sewing, and more often then not I’m working on a english paper pieced project.  So after 18 months of almost daily practice I have discovered a few tips that I thought I would share and hopefully help you with your next project.

 

 

 

Glue vs thread basting

I have tried both glueing and thread basting and for me IMG_0202
thread basting wins out for any paper piece over about 1/2 inch.  Thread basting helps maintain the shape (no more yanking at seams and fabric to become unstuck) and means I can get at least two or three uses out of my paper pieces as the papers aren’t torn when I remove them.  With 1/2 inch and smaller shapes it gets fairly tricky to work with the tiny pieces so I do find glueing easier.

 

Thread

For months I struggled with threading my needles but then I discovered Aurifil 50 weight thread – its thin enough to fit through the eye of any needle but has enough structure it doesn’t collapse when you are trying to thread with it.

Needles

I had no idea there was special quilting needles but once I discovered size 11 needles my stitches improved straight away.  Their small size means they slip through the fabric far easier than a longer length needle.  And as you sew your shapes together you can also get in between the edge of the paper piece and the edge of the fabric (see below image), which means your stitches won’t be visible at the front of your project.IMG_0205

 

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Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop

When Elea Lutz contacted me and asked if I wanted to join the Strawberry Biscuit blog hop I was so excited (and fairly nervous).  This collection was a firm favourite the moment I saw it on her Instagram feed.  IMG_9353

I knew that with such pretty and cheery fabric I wanted to make
something for my daughters. I then thought about why I adored this collection so much. It wasn’t just the fact it features sweet baking kitties, singing blue birds, tiny flowers and a divine cheater print perfect for making 1 inch hexies.

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It was Elea’s perfect eye for details and colours. Her beautiful illustrations are reminiscent of my favourite vintage prints and I find each and every piece of the collection sweet and inspiring. Suddenly the answer came to me – for this arts and craft obsessed family I would make a children’s travelling art case!

A ‘go anywhere’ art case would be a great way to display the sweet prints, as well help encourage my daughters to keep creating, no matter where they are (who knows, maybe one day they will be fabric designers!).

Open art case

 

I couldn’t find an art case pattern so instead I came up with a simple design that I then embellished with fabric stamps, hexies and a fussy cut quilt block. I even took the cheater print and turned it slightly so that the squares became diamonds! Such a simple twist and the result is so sweet

 

Below I have a little step by step tutorial on how I made the case. You can make the case as simple or as intricate as you like.  I have a place for pencils, a pouch for treasures and a section for an art pad.  I encourage you to make the case your own by adding the little touches you love creating and as a result it is sure to be a cherished piece that encourages the next generation of creators.

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There have been so many amazing bloggers featured in this blog hop and tomorrow is no exception.  Make sure you have a look at the projects by Megan from Dolly Henry and Stacy from Farm Road Quilts you are guaranteed to be inspired by what they have made with Strawberry
Biscuit!

Art Case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travelling Art Case Tutorial

Fabric requirements

Inner Cover
Cover – 12 1/2 inches by 21 1/2 inchesIMG_9355


Pencil Section

Outer Fabric – 7 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch
Lining – 7 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch

Pouch with Flap
Outer Fabric – 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch
Lining – 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch

Flap 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inch
Flap Lining 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inch

Notebook Section
Outer Fabric – 9 1/4 inch 9 1/4 inch
Lining – 9 1/4 inch 9 1/4 inch

Outer Cover
Cover – 12 1/2 inches by 21 1/2 inches
Batting (I used a stiff bag batting) – 12 inches by 21 inches
Handles – 2 x (2 inch by 8 inch)

Instructions

Please note these are the basics for preparing the case. Remember to personalise it!

Inner Cover

  1.  Sew each of the section and pouch pieces to its corresponding lining by placing the two pieces right side together. Sew around each piece using a 1/4 seam and leaving a 1 inch gap to allow you to turn the pieces out. Turn them out and then press.
  2.  Lay out your inner cover right side facing up. On the upper left side of the cover lay your pouch section and then the flap piece slightly above the pouch section. Below the pouch, position the pencil section (Hint: remember the pencils will stick out the top so you need to make sure there is enough space between the bottom of the pouch and the top of the pencil section).
  3. Place the notebook section on the right side of the cover making sure you place it low enough that your notebook won’t stick out of the top of the case.
  4. Check that you are happy with the layout of each of your sections, and that they are far enough away from the outer edge that they won’t be caught up in the hem when you sew the outer and inside cover together.
  5. You will now sew each section in place to the inner cover. For all pieces (except the pouch flap) top stitch along the two short sides and along the bottom. You will then top stitch just along the top of the pouch flap.
  6. You are now going to make the slots for the pencils to go into. We are using quite IMG_9098thick pencils so I measured 1 inch intervals along the length of pencil section. (Hint: if you are using thinner pencils you might be able to fit in extra pencils). I then top stitched a straight line down each inch interval (from the top to the bottom).
  7. Depending on what you are putting in your pouch with a flap you can either add snaps or just leave it as is.

Outer Cover

  1. Quilt the Outer cover to the batting however way you wish. if you want to keep it really simple you could just sew 1/4 inch around the edge of the batting so that it is secure to the front cover.
  2. Take the two strips of fabric for the handles. Take the fabric and fold in in half length ways so it measures 1 inch by 8 and then press. Open up the strip and then fold each 8 edge so that they meet at the centre fold. Now fold the entire thing at the original fold so you end up with a 1 inch by 8 inch strip with concealed edges. Repeat for the other strip. Then top stitch 1/8 inch in down the length of of each strip along both sides.
  3. Now we are going to attach the handles to the outside cover. Measure 3 inches down and attach the handle shorter (1 inch) edge to the cover. Measure 7 1/12 inches down from the top and attach the other shorter edge. You should now have a handle! (Hint: make sure the handle is laying against the cover so that it is out of the way when you sew the front and back cover together). Repeat on the other side for the other handle.

Final Construction

  1. You are now going to sew the outer cover to the inside cover. Lay the two cover right side together and pin. Sew around using a 1/4 inch seam and leaving a 4 inch gap at the bottom to turn the case out.
  2. Turn out the case and press, making sure you push out each corner.
  3. Hand sew or machine stitch the opening closed
  4. Fill up your case with lots of fun bits and pieces! And in our case remove all those art pieces and replace them with your tiny vintage dolls and their pet dinosaur. Enjoy!IMG_9343
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A Patchwork Coin Purse

IMG_8773I recently discovered 3/8 hexies,  fussy cutting and paper piecing tiny pieces can be very time consuming so I really wanted to find a great way to display the final piece.  And for me a patchwork coin purse was the perfect way!

I used a 4 inch sew in frame, which I personally find a lot easier to IMG_8563work with compared to the glue in frames.  You don’t have to worry about glue sticking to your frame (or fabric) and I simply use sticky tape to can hold the fabric in place while I sew it into the frame (I even just sew through the tape and then remove the tape once I have finished).

If you haven’t tried making a coin purse you should definitely give it a go – they make a perfect patchwork gift that can be used everyday!

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A Patchwork Kite – a quick tutorial

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My patchwork kite using Lecien Old New 30s collection cheater fabric with a cute hexie flower

I recently found myself with some time to spare and was after a quick project. After searching Pinterest for inspiration I come across a cloth kite. It looked cute but I thought I would make a patchwork version, it was so popular on Instagram  I’ve pulled together a quick tutorial if you would like to try it yourself.

Step 1. Cut 16 x 3 inch squares (I used a a combination of florals, linens and solids.

Step 2. Sew 2 row of 2 squares, 3 rows of 4 squares.

Step 3. Sew the 5 rows all together, in the following order – 2 row block, 4 row block, 4 row block, 4 row block and finally 2 row block.

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Laying out my fabric blocks

Step 4. Draw a line running diagonal down through each of the top 3 inch blocks and down through the 1st and 4th block of the second row. This provided me with the top of diamond kite shape.

Step 5. Position your ruler to the top left the 3rd row and angle down to the middle of the bottom row. Draw a straight line and repeat on the other side at the top right hand corner of the last block.

Step 6. You should now have a complete diamond shape drawn on your fabric, use these lines to cut out the diamond shape.

Step 7. Add a stiff batting to your diamond fabric piece and quilt as desired.

Step 8. Position your backing piece of fabric underneath your diamond quilt top and cut around leaving a 1/4 inc seam.

Step 9. Cut a piece of string and pin it to the batting at the bottom of the kite, this will be your kite string.

Step 10. Right sides together, sew your backing to your quilted kite – making sure your string hasn’t slipped out. As you sew, leave a gap on one of the sides to enable you to turn the kite out.

Step 11. Using the gap you left at step 10, turn out the kite and hand stitch the opening closed.

Step 12. Embellish the string with pretty ribbons or bias and then enjoy your super cute patchwork kite wall hanging!

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The finished patchwork kite – a perfect wall hanging for a child’s room

 

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Creating Hexies

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Liberty Of London hexie cushion.

I first tried English Paper Piecing a year ago, I bought pre-cut Liberty of London fabric hexagons (or hexies) from Alice Caroline. and hexagon papers from my local quilt store. It then took me around 2 months, while I watched tv in the evenings, to baste the fabric to the individual papers and then sew the 50 hexies together and the result was a cute little pillow and a new obsession.

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1/2 inch hexies

Since then I have made more hexies than I can count and my favourite thing to do now is cut my hexagons so they feature a cute image – otherwise known as fussy cut hexies.  With a bit practice (and a clear plastic hexagon template) you can perfectly cut your hexagons so they make the most of your fabric (even the smallest scrap of fabric such as these 1/2 inch hexies).